Something Completely Different : BC 2020


Tired of seeing posts of 100K sprinters with tile backsplashes, 15 pillows for some reason, hanging fruit baskets and impossibly fit young couples #hashtagging their way to a moderate income? Or built toyotas with light bars, limb risers, snorkels, pelican cases, numerous colours of jerrycans, and titanium sporks whose owners spend way more time thinking of a cool #overland Instagram handle than actually driving offroad?

Well then have I got a treat for you…. May I present the current setup: a 12 year old Subaru outback worth around $5k and a 1980s travel trailer that I paid $500 for!

Let me get this out of the way first, since I know everyones is going to ask: The trailer weighs 1850lbs dry but with the basics (chairs, table, 2 batteries, full propane, coleman stove, awning, solar panel, dishes, bedding, etc) so maybe 1750 fully empty? Pushing 2100 lbs full. Subaru Outback is rated to tow 3300lbs. Trailer has brakes, and tows about as well as you would expect 2000lbs behind a family car would.

Anyway, without further ado and since I can sense the limited interest in this thread vanishing as fast as a tank of gas in the suby when towing this breadbox, here goes:

Earlier this summer, pandemic mode was in full force, borders were closed, and the weather was finally starting to get nice. I work at a mine in Kamloops BC and commute back and forth for 2 week shifts from my home in Rossland BC. My wife and kids (2 and 4) decided to join me in Kamloops for a shift, so we decided to spend 4-5 days exploring on the way there, work 2 weeks, and then spend a similar time exploring on the way back. So this is basically a 10 day trip with a gap in the middle.

The plan was to take as much gravel as possible and hit some places we hadn’t been yet. So we headed west from our home to Grand Forks, BC, and turned north. We were planning to check out some rec sites along the way and then eventually end up crossing out of the granby watershed and over to Edgewood BC via 115km of back road, most of which is a gravel FSR.

Day 1 we just blasted our way up the scenic granby river valley and headed west to check out some rec sites and find a place to camp. Miraculously for the start of a long weekend, we stumbled upon this gem at eight mile flats, about 15km up the Granby River on a decent gravel road.

It was a super quiet campsite and nice to finally be in the forest and chilling after a hectic day of packing and driving.

Some wildlife encounters:

The biggest cottonwood I’ve ever seen

Here’s the camper in all its glory! I have probably sunk an additional $2k into it on top of the $500 purchase price. Its got running water, 2 deep cycle batteries paired to a 100W Solar panel and a TF49 fridge, which gives around 3-4 days of cold beers, with and additional few if the sun is shining. Two bunks for the 4 of us and a stove, furnace, etc completes the package. Oh and that sweet grey water setup you can see which consists of a hose and a bucket (no toilet in the rig either btw, that’s just sink water)

Killer spot

After a night of campfires and listening to the river, we woke the next day to some good weather and decided to hit the main objective of the area: Bluejoint Lookout, which is a fire lookout accessed by a fairly rough road to over 2100m, which is one of only a handful of roads around that get to that elevation.

The suby did fine, rocky and slow driving but no real issues or even hits to the skidplates (aluminum engine, trans, and rear diff skids were a key investment in the low slung battlewagon). Until this point:

Snow! We were literally <100m from the top, midway up a steep section with no where to easily turn around. Since I am a stubborn bastard and not happy turning around on a trail until I’m either stuck or it ends, we decided to get the kids out to walk around with mom while I bashed back and forth on the soft snow enough times to power through. Lets just say it was way steeper and deeper than it looked and it took some shovelling too. I was committed though and eventually had success!

From here is was time to switch to hiking boots, and with the baby on the back and toddler in tow, we set off up the ridge.

Getting closer

Made it. Spectacular views over to big white, old glory, the valhallas, most of the west kootenays really.

This is by far the best preserved lookout I’ve ever seen, probably due to the fact that its hike in only. Let’s try and keep it this way!

Very cool compass/spotting intstrument

Back to the whip

And some views from the way down. Kids fell asleep so no stopping to take any more photos. Back to the campsite for another night.

Part two to come… featuring a blown CV joint and campsite repairs

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So, on the way down from the lookout, I started hearing the telltale clunking of a blown CV. Pulled into the campsite to take a look:

Yeah, its bad. Boot fully torn and grease everywhere. The nice thing about CVs is they usually give you lots of warning before they get this bad. I had heard some noise for weeks now when turning around in parking lots at full lock, so I’d gone out and bought a replacement axle assembly. Didn’t get around to installing it before the trip because, well kids and life and stuff. Luckily, I had thrown it into the trailer storage bin as a spare.

Of course seeing me crawling around under the car, buddy from the next campsite over drops by and offers up his set of tools etc. With the (it turns out unneeded) backup of having another person and tools on the standby I decide to do the campsite swap. For once in life, the mechanic gods smiled on me and nothing went wrong, no bolts were seized, everything lined up, and the swap only took half an hour

Done in time to enjoy another campfire by the river.

After another peaceful night at 8 mile flats, we hit the road the next day, trying to beat the forecasted thunderstorms

Across one bridge, down to Burrell Creek FSR, and starting up the 65km of gravel over the pass towards Arrow Lake. We crossed another bridge along the way and since the rain hadn’t started, stopped at a small beach for the kids to play while we made lunch

From here it was a pretty uneventful drive up and over the pass and then down the 1000m vertical on the other side. I don’t really have any pics of the drive, but it was classic kootenay forests, cutblocks and gravel. Nice enough but no real good views of the lake or anything.

Near the bottom of the hill, I started to hear some more clunking. You gotta be kidding me. Sounds like the other CV is about to go. What are the odds. I limp it the last km (without getting out to check like I should have) and then take a look:

Whoops. Not the CV. I know better, but it happened. Lug nuts loosened off on the washboard. At least it wasn’t the wheel that I took off for the CV swap, so I didn’t feel quite as bad.

Anyway, we are now in Edgewood, a town with no services other than a general store. Nearest auto parts store is 1.5 hours away. So, I just retorqued the remaining 4 bolts and hoped it would be fine.

Time for a beer:

The municipal campground in edgewood is right on the water, and a really nice spot

It was so nice here, we ended up staying another night. Not much to do other than sit at the beach!

Home sweet home

The nice thing about the trailer is theres room to pack all sorts of dumb luxuries like these floating chairs.




Up early the next morning for a quick walk out the dock, and then into the car for some highway miles.

Up over Monashee pass with a quick stop at a nice lake at the summit.

We decided to head north and drive up to Mabel Lake to camp at a rec site and then head north to three valley gap.

The road was muddy:

Mud on everything. This is the battery box I built to keep the 2 batteries out of the elements. You can also see the propane tank hold down J hooks I built. Threaded rod welded onto a non-threaded rod which is bent into a J shape to hold the lip of the tank. Nuts on the bottom to crank it all down. Simple, tight, and effective. Anyway I digress, no one cares about a picture of a muddy propane tank

We hung out at the lake,

Hiked to some waterfalls,

Oh, and heres some random expo porn: custom bungy mounted knockoff maxtrax, with custom bungy mounted shovel.

Actually works surprisingly well. On a side note you can see how easily the trax burn the knobs off when you are spinning a 2WD non low range mud terrain all over them for a while (that’s another story, but heres a teaser of that:

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Cottonwood Beach Rec site. Turns out the road north to three valley gap was washed out, and we had to backtrack to Lumby to head west. It was alright though since the drive was pretty scenic as the FSR hugged the lakeshore. The weather was ominous but didn’t actually rain much.

We hiked into another cool waterfall

Found an old cabin

And another nice beach. Unfortunately we had a 3 hour drive and I had to be at work that afternoon, so we hit the highway and made it to Kamloops.

Heres the basic route of the first half of the trip:,+BC,+Canada/Grand+Forks,+BC/49.469728,-118.5439045/Cottonwood+Beach,+Mabel+Lake+Forest+service+Road,+North+Okanagan+F,+BC/Kamloops,+BC/@49.852871,-119.5805227,8.75z/data=!4m27!4m26!1m5!1m1!1s0x5362da91a3fef0d3:0xa1299371f32020f9!2m2!1d-117.8000037!2d49.0781415!1m5!1m1!1s0x5362adb7feccb003:0x587df4497a36b354!2m2!1d-118.4451392!2d49.0300946!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x537e99e9e2a90c6b:0xa5ac4ddb52338d9!2m2!1d-118.6795377!2d50.6153478!1m5!1m1!1s0x537e2cd33d0d3b31:0xd23e96aa9a6945e7!2m2!1d-120.3272675!2d50.674522!3e0

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the second half, featuring Logan Lake, Ashcroft, Cornwall Hills, Merritt etc.


2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Great writeup and making memories for those kidos beats any rig build out there....
keep the money invested in gas tanks and you will never regret it.


Well-known member
Fabulous story, I've been to a few of those spots, now the goal is to get to more. I'm actually liking the "avoid unnecessary travel" "play in your own backyard" "Recreation on the 100 mile rule" COVID thing, we all have so much to explore close to home.

I like your budget too. Remote travel does not need massive investment. Well done. Hope to meet some day. My sister was born in Rossland.


New member
SO FUN! Subscribed to see what happens next.. Hopefully the lug nut swap went as well as the cv swap. Seeing you out in your outback makes me want to take mine out, haha!

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SO FUN! Subscribed to see what happens next.. Hopefully the lug nut swap went as well as the cv swap. Seeing you out in your outback makes me want to take mine out, haha!
Thanks man. Lug nut swap was a surprising pain in the ass actually. Also, I won’t be posting any updates for a week or so. We took a surprise short notice trip to the Rockies and aren’t back until after the weekend.
But yeah get out in the suby! They are so fun and surprisingly capable

Bob Boyer

Thanks for this story! First thread I've subscribed to here. Love the writing and sense of humor. It's great to see a fun trip well documented - especially as it's about the experience, not the rig.